Vegan Sashimi at Yasaitei (2010/06/30)

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: very clean
Prices: reasonable
Specialty: Vegan and vegetarian Cuisine, Izakaya gastronomy, local products, oden.

The summer has come to Shizuoka with a vengeance after an unseasonably cool period. One has problems making and devising food and meals for such a period. It is when you have to think of a higher fluid/water and vitamin intake to complement your “usual” diet/eating prctices.

This is when fresh vegetables are vital!
Luckily enough, Shizuoka Prefecture is the most blessed region in Japan when it comes to varieties and quality.

Just go arond the innumerable small markets in town and suburbs and you will rediscover the riot of colours at Yasaitei, which almost exclusively serve local produce!

Do not forget that mushrooms can play a vital role in your diet!

One knows very quickly where all these beauties come from: Green asparaguses from Hokkaido!

I had a long day both indoors and outdoors yesterday, and I was literally dehydrated when I entered my favourite izakaya.
The fresh colours of yuba/tofu sheets served with grated Shizuoka wasabi and thinly shredded leek were a balm on my eyes and body.
With a glass of Doman rice shochu from Tenjigura-Hamamatsu Brewery, I could patiently wait for my vegetable sashimi order!

Just a little soy sauce with it, nothing else!

A side view of the picture at the top of this posting.

A slanted view to show the mizu nasu/water egg plant, a Japanese variety that is best eaten raw, cruchy celery, crunchy (and so juicy) daikon on shiso, perilla leaf atop chopped onions, crunchy and juicy (again) cucumber and small radish!
The dressing/dip consisted as usual of fine salt, miso paste and sesame oil!

I finish my quick snack/meal with a corn cream and fresh carrot combination. Does not qualify as vegan, but certainly does as vegetarian!

YASAITEI
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-Cho, 1-6-2 Green Heights Wamon 1-C
Tel.: 054-2543277
Business hours: 17:30~22:00
Closed on Sundays
Reservations highly recommended
Seating: 6 at counter + 20 at tables
Set Courses: 3,000, 4,000, 5,000 yen
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

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Vegan Japanese Dessert: Yomogi Kintsuba/”Mugwort Sabre Guard”

I visited JA (Japan Agriculture) Agriroad Supermarket in Miwa, Aoi Ku, Shizuoka City this morning. Good exercise, as it is a 40-minute bicycle ride from my home up along the Abe River!

I had the pleasure to meet an old acquaintance, Mrs. Natsuko Koyanagi who works there on Wednesdays.
Actually she is one of the 15 out of a total of over 100 members of Agri Road working in shifts at the JA Agriroad Supermarket. All members are local farmer housewives who decided to form this association with subsidies from the Japan Agriculture Ministry as a “side business” to contribute to their husbands’ earnings. They grow their own food, flowers and cook take-away meals all sold at that supermarket. There are quite a few more in this city, all with a different name, but sharing the same purpose.

her specialty is making “Yomogi kin Tsuba” every Wednesday morning.
And I can tell you these do not stay long as they are freshly made in fornt of the customers who very often make personal orders through the phone early in the morning when she is prparing the batter and the sweetmeats!

Yomogi is mugwort.
Not to be confused with tujone, which was used to make the “Green Fairy”, aka Absinthe, which is now prohibited in its origanl form.
Mugwort grows almost everywhere in Japan and has been used as food and medicinal herb since immemrial times.
It is particularly rich in palmitic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, Vitamin A, B1 and B2!
It is particularly popular as tempura and cakes.
It is first crushed and worked into a paste before being mixed with water and flour.
Now, Mrs. Koyanagi uses only “Chikona wheat flour”, that is flour from wheat only grown and ground locally ensuring for the best quality and back tracing.
Moreover, she makes her own anko/sweetmeats with strictly locally-grown azuki beans and sugar.
Nothing else! I can assure you that vegans couls feed on them all day!LOL

Now, why the name “kintsuba”?
Kintsuba means sword guard. It has three openings, the middle one for the blade, the other two for the pins to secure the same blade and guard together.

As explained above, Mrs. Koyanagi prepares her own batter to a sticky paste, solid enough to be able to wrap it around a ball of anko.
She will then drop the cake on a hot plate (coated with a little oil) and press it with her three middle fingers so as to attain the shape of a sword guard!
Important note: Mrs. Koyanagai wears medical gloves during the whole operation.
Actually, one more reason she makes these cakes is because she receives the visit of many Nepalese through her charity work abroad. As her Asian friends are most of the time strict vegetarians, it becomes a double pleasure for her to feed them!

Incidentally, yomogi kintsuba was a very popular cake with the samurais of old times!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
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Robert Yellin’s Book – Ode to Japanese Pottery

Book Details:

Title: Ode to Japanese Pottery, Sake Cups and Flasks
Author: Robert Lee Yellin
Hardcover: 208 pages
Dimensions: 22.7 x 18.2 x 2 cm
Photos: All color photography, 62 pages
Photography: Yoshihide Minato and Hiroya Yoshimori
Language: English
Publisher: Coherence Inc.
ISBN: 4-907731-05-1
Price: US $49.50 (cheaper if ordered directly from HOMEPAGE: ROBERT YELLIN YAKIMONO GALLERY)

Highlights:

Sake cups and flasks by approximately 100 modern and contemporary potters. Main text by Robert Yellin, with additional text by Wahei Aoyama entitled “A Brief History of Sake Vessels.” Book includes a detailed glossary of terms, and hand-painted calligraphy and artwork by various artists. This book is the English version of Yakimono Sanka by Robert Yellin, first published in Japanese in 1995 by Kogei Shuppan. Yakimono Sanka was recommended by the Japanese Library Association for inclusion into all Japanese public libraries.

Review:

In the world of Japanese pottery lie the aesthetic sensibilities of traditional Japanese culture. Robert L. Yellin, ceramic art columnist for The Japan Times, delivers in this detailed volume his insights into modern and contemporary Japanese pottery, in particular ceramic sake cups and flasks.

Originally written in 1995 for a Japanese audience, Ode to Japanese Pottery is an ideal introduction to those unacquainted to Japanese pottery, and a welcome asset to the libraries of Japanese ceramic art collectors and connoisseurs. The volume exhibits various styles of Japanese pottery, namely Bizen, Shigaraki, and Shino wares. Above all, Ode to Japanese Pottery gives the reader a grasp of the unique and delicate aesthetics of Japan, an aesthetic that has long captivated artists and art lovers the world over.

Inquiries:

To inquire about this publication, please click here.

Page Samples:

Excerpt from “Ode to Japanese Pottery,” page 40

Isezaki Yozan — Tokkuri of Eternity Isezaki Yozan (1902 – 1961) was a Bizen potter renowned for his sculptured pieces. He was designated an Okayama Prefecture Intangible Cultural Property in 1954. I have only come across one of his pieces on all my journeys (his pieces are quite rare). However, it is this tokkuri that I feel most closely gives me a glimpse of things eternal or ‘mugen’ in Japanese. This tokkuri is so simple in its appearance that it is almost deceiving; yet within its form are colors and a depth that refreshes the spirit. It is a piece that takes time to appreciate, like a good piece of music or a cherished friend. It is only with frequent contact and after a period of time that we can begin to comprehend the wisdom inherent within. This piece was fired with a cup or bowl over its neck (kabuse-yaki), which gives the effect of a ring around the shoulder.

Yakimono Gallery
3-2-18 Omiya-cho, Mishima-shi, Shizuoka, Japan,411-0035
HOMEPAGE: ROBERT YELLIN YAKIMONO GALLERY
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French Cuisine: Lunch at Tetsuya Sugimoto (new formula)

Service: personal and very friendly
Facilities: great washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable, good value.
Strong points: Very fresh local ingredients extensively used. Seasonal ingredients of the best quality only.
no-smoking-logoentirely non-smoking!

Since the beginning of June, Tetsuya Sugimoto has re-started with the formula he had so much success with in his former restaurant: a one-man (solo) show!
Tell the truth, he was more or less forced to do it, but he admits that he is quite happy as things are now. After all, his clients are slow food fans in the broadest sense!

On the blackboard outside the prices have been done without. Only the new arrivals of the day are featured: Vegetables from Mr. Yano (Hamamatsu City), Bio Farm Satsuki (Fujinomiya City), Mikatahara Kaneko (Hamamatsu City), Suzuki Noen (Hamamatsu City), Milk Lamb from Iida Bokujyo (Hamamatsu City),….

The Menu has also dispensed with set menus and the like,
Actually, the best way to order your repast is to consult Mr. Sugimoto and either give him a budget to work with, or ask him to arrange this and that. The guests and the chef devise the meal together, a rarity in Japan!

As for the seating the 7 tables seating two each can be arranged in any pattern thanks to white partitions ensuring privacy if needed. The latter can be taken out quickly in case of a party.

5 can sit at the counter, my favourite place when coming alone.
It allows me to stand up any time and chat with the chef while he is cooking!

Although Mr. Sugimoto is a bit shy, he will gladly let you take pictures if you ask nicely!

Here are the vegetables we had agreed on to go with the meat.
All are from Shizuoka Prefecture, except the dark carrots from Hokkaido.

The meat was shoulder from a 3-month old lamb.

The appetizer was fish rillettes prepared with Cognac, Pernod, Fresh cream and white miso!

The second appetizer was white asparaguses from Hokkaido.

Boiled to perfection and served with a light sauce made with pheasant bouillon and Japanese fermented butter.

Be it daytime or night time, a couple of glasses of wine are always in order!

Les Airs, Cotes du Rhone red 2007, unfiltered by Les Vignerons d’Estezargues, 14.5 degrees proof of alcohol. Very solid, fruity, rustic wine with big notes of red fruit and cassis in aroma,soft on the palate in spite of its obvious strength, welcome acidity, lingers long enough to be fully appreciated. Well-chosen, if not famous, wine!

Now, for the main dish!

The lamb was cooked rare, barel seasoned and served with Madeira sauce.

The vegetables were slightly boiled before being fried or deep-fried to preserve their crunchiness and flavors.
Eating them one at a time is a true gastronomic experience even for an omnivore.

Desserts are a must at Tetsuya Sugimoto!
Light and full of flavours, they will actually benifit your health!
Creme d’ange made with Hokkaido Fromage Blanc (Hokkaido No Kyodo Gakusha) with vincoto sauce and rhubarb puree and Hon Yama Seicha Mousse made with green tea from Shizuoka!

Great coffee and amuse-bouches to top it all!

Had it not been lunch, I would have ordered a digestif or a glass of Shizuoka Sake that the chef always keeps handy!

Tetsuya SUGIMOTO
420-0038 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Umeya, 2-13, 1F
Tel./Fax: 054-251-3051
Opening hours: 11:30~13:30 (last orders), 18:00~21:00 (last prders)
Day off: varying, please phone beforehand.
Reservations strongly recommended.
Vegetarian or vegan meals on request.
Private parties possible.
Credit Cards OK

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Happy Little Bento; 5 Star Foodie; Jefferson’s Table; Oyster Culture; Gourmet Fury; Island Vittles; Good Beer & Country Boys; Rubber Slippers In Italy; Color Food daidokoro/Osaka;/a; The Witchy Kitchen; Citron Et Vanille, Lunsj Med Buffet/Estonian Gastronomy (English), Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Chrisoscope

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Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’10/48): Sushi Millefeuille Bento

I finally managed to have the Missus take all photos of her bentos according to my preferences and hope that BG will stop commenting on my general clumsiness and ignorance!LOL
It takes time even for dragons like me to tame btter-worse halves calling themselves rabbits (BG, spare me from the next question!)

As Tuesday is “Sushi bento day”, the Missus came up with the concept of sushi millefeuille, that is a multi-layer sushi.
She lined a terrine with cellophane paper before placing the ingredients in the following order (inverted!): sliced avocado dipped in lemon juice, sushi rice, cucumber strips, smoked salmon and rice again!

The same unwrapped.
Now, if you do not wish to press the sushi too hard like the Missus, keep it wrapped in the cellophane paper when you cut it to avoid unpleasant (crumbling away) surprises.

And you might have to wrap them again before cutting them a second time across!

Then she wrapped each sushi in lettuce for better handling and easier insertion into the bento box. That particular box is very practical for big bento rice balls or sushi!

For a closer cross section view of the sushi!

Mini tomatoes and the Missus’ mother’s home-made cucumber pickles for the finishing touch!

The Salad dish consisted of mixed boiled beans, hijiki/sweet seaweed, fresh celery, red trevise and lettuce.
No dessert? Oh well, the tomatoes are very sweet!

Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat

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Robert Yellin’s Newsletter: The Power of Myth-Shimura Noriyuki Exhibition

We are pleased to announce the 2nd exhibition of Shimura Noriyuki, a unique ceramic artist who takes folklore and history and places them on his colorful vessels. Shimura has been working since 1990 in the Izu peninsula after having studied and worked for 11 years with Seto potter and glaze master Kato Sho (1927-2001, Aichi Intangible Cultural Property). Kato was also a unique potter making incised works with peacocks, for example. Shimura did much inlay-zogan work over the years for Kato and on his current works he continues to employ this technique, often with writing about the meaning of each piece. Our online exhibition will be viewable until July 7th.

Shimura Noriyuki—The Power of Myth (From a past Honoho Geijutsu column)

It’s often said that good things come in small packages, take a little kogo for example. I just had to smile as I held one in my miraculous hands; staring back at me was a fire breathing Godzilla-like figure. How fun, I said to myself! The whimsical world of kogo goes back many centuries with mythical figures such as shishi lions and robed foxes, seven-lucky gods, birds, and other nature themes as motifs. I’m sure such kogo have brought delight to those who viewed them too over the endless years. In fact, kogo are collected the world over with one famous collection of 3,500 kogo (however no fire breathing dragon ones) created by French statesman George Clemenceau (1841-1929). The Clemenceau collection toured Japan in 1978. That was just thirty years ago and how the world at large has changed, not often for the better though, unfortunately. It’s time to, as Henry David Thoreau said, simplify, or as comedian Steve Martin once joked to, ‘get small!’

These largely unnerving days we surely need new dreams, new ideas and new visions (here big is ok) in all aspects of life to revive our spirits, the economy and the environment. Or maybe we just need to look at ancient myths to remember the value of life. Art too is often an inspiration in such turbulent times, a visual way to connect with our psyches, inner voices and dreams; Shimura Noriyuki–the ceramic artist who created the Godzilla-like kogo–is an inspired artist who in his own quiet way is keeping dreams and myths alive in his ceramic art.

The great author of the book ‘The Power of Myth’ Joseph Campbell used to say ‘follow your bliss.’ To do so means one follows the uncharted path of life taking each thought, each dream, each vision into every single precious day to create what we call ‘a life.’

Shimura has been doing that since 1990 in the Izu peninsula after having studied and worked for 11 years with Seto potter and glaze master Kato Sho (1927-2001, Aichi Intangible Cultural Property). Kato was also a unique potter making incised works with peacocks, for example. Shimura did much inlay-zogan work over the years for Kato and on his current works he continues to employ this technique. Have a look at another kogo, the Buddha, and you’ll see a keen sense of balance in the white zogan design set within the backdrop. And the dragon kogo is a riot of color, yet as with all of Shimura’s works the colors blend together in a rather shibui way. And this is an important aspect of Shimura’s work; how he does blend his colors in a kirei-sabi way, not gaudy at all. That makes Shimura’s works able to sit in a tokonoma and not be out of place. They also will bring a lively commentary and smiles to any tea ceremony. Of course he also makes vessels for the table with equally pleasing themes.

As with kogo, okimono or ornamental figures long ago were a whimsical world of beasts, legendary figures, and demons that brought luck, prosperity, dreams and inspiration to many homes. Where are such okimono now? If a society loses its power of indigenous myth and just buys into globalization its spirit will die off. To keep the power of myth alive maintains the health of a society. Shimura is doing all he can to bring okimono back into the homes of the nation.

His Sumo wrestler has a stern yet gentle face, and the image of Fuji-san on his kesho-mawashi imparts not only energy to the okimono, yet also a spirit, the spirit of Japan. The Fuji-san okimono has a well-balanced grove of multi-colored pines growing up the entire form; a pure Japanese image, and symbolism poetical themed with the word ‘tsuki’ or moon rising from the side inlaid within the moon itself. The back has a rather textile themed striped pattern that also recalls Ogata Kenzan. To have such an okimono, in one’s foyer will surely allow one to leave the house each day with a smile and greet the day empowered with their own bliss, rooted in the timeless power of myth. Thanks to Shimura Noriyuki for reminding me of that.

With deep thanks and appreciation for all your interest and support; my staff and I send our best regards from Japan.

Cordially,
Robert Yellin

Yakimono Gallery
3-2-18 Omiya-cho, Mishima-shi, Shizuoka, Japan,411-0035
HOMEPAGE: ROBERT YELLIN YAKIMONO GALLERY
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RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
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Vegan Japanese Yama Imo Salad

Yama Imo is Yam in English.
As said many a time before, it is a very healthy vegetable.
The Japanese often eat it raw in salads or as an appetizer.
Here is a very simple suggestion for vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike!
Great with beer or Japanese sake!

INGREDIENTS:

-Yama Imo/Yam: 1/4
-Ooba/Large shiso/perilla leaves (if not available, use perilla leaves): 3~4
-Soy sauce: of your choice and as appropriate. (can be replaced with ponzu)
-Wasabi: grated as appropriate.

RECIPE:

-Peel yama imo.
Cut it in 5~7 cm-long and 1/2cm wide strips/sticks.
If you find cutting it raw diificult, freeze it first, then cut. It will re-attain its original state very quickly.

-On a serving dish, make a bed of leaves.
Place yama imo sticks as shown on pics.

-For the sauce, you can either mix the soy sauce (or ponzu) with the grated wasabi and serve it in small dish for dipping if you use chopsticks.
If you use a fork, pour the sauce over the yam imo.

Note: I use sprinkle the yama imo with plenty of roasted sesame seeds for extra taste and crunch!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Happy Little Bento; 5 Star Foodie; Jefferson’s Table; Oyster Culture; Gourmet Fury; Island Vittles; Good Beer & Country Boys; Rubber Slippers In Italy; Color Food daidokoro/Osaka;/a; The Witchy Kitchen; Citron Et Vanille, Lunsj Med Buffet/Estonian Gastronomy (English), Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi